Tapping onto London’s Tube with an Australian Credit Card

If you’re travelling to London, you’ve probably thought about picking up an Oyster card. Oyster cards can be used to travel on the Tube, as well as most public transport services in greater London. After pre-loading money onto an Oyster card you can simply tap on and off each time you travel by public transport, without needing to worry about buying a ticket. In that sense, London’s Oyster card is the same as Melbourne’s Myki, Sydney’s Opal card and Brisbane’s Go card.

But you don’t even need an Oyster card to get around London any more. Instead of tapping on and off public transport with an Oyster card, you can now use your credit card. Any Amex, MasterCard or Visa card with contactless payment enabled can be used instead. The cost of the fare will simply be charged to your credit card.

Ahead of a trip to London, one member recently asked for advice from other Australian travellers that have used the Tube’s new contactless payment system.

Hi team – I was gearing up to get an Oyster Card for some time I have in UK later this year and a friend mentioned you can simply use your credit card, so no need…

I know I’ll get slugged with a 3% Foreign Conversion Fee (if I use my AMEX Ultimate Card). If it means one less city public transport card, it is a win as far as I am concerned. Out of interest, has anyone had any experience using Australia Credit Cards for public transport in London?

Many members have posted about their recent experiences, and they have almost all been positive. If you have a credit card that charges fees for overseas transactions, these fees will be applicable when using your card to pay for public transport. But if you have a credit card that does not charge international transaction fees such as the 28 Degrees card, there is effectively no cost to using this method.

Under the new system, there is no longer a need to worry about purchasing and topping up an Oyster card. In fact, some members are now returning their Oyster cards for a refund as they are now redundant.

I used my Australian Platinum Charge without issue in December. The daily fare capping worked as well. Weekly fare capping only applies to contactless cards (and not on the Oyster).

I will most likely cash in my Oyster on my next trip later this year.

The daily and weekly travel caps, which offer discounts to travellers using public transport multiple times throughout the day or week, are also applied to credit card payments. To make sure you don’t miss out on the savings, it’s important to ensure you always tap on and off with the same credit card.

Make sure you use the same card all the time to take advantage of daily and weekly maximums.

With contactless credit cards becoming increasingly common in Australia, some members wonder whether a similar scheme could be rolled out on public transport at home. While widespread implementation is still a few years away, this technology will be trialled next year on Sydney’s “Manly Fast Ferry” service.

Share your experience HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]